Lifespan: 15xx to 2/29 of Kanei 10 (1633)
Rank: bushō, daimyō
Title: Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Governor of Shinano, Junior Fourth Rank (Lower)
Lord: Toyotomi Hideyoshi → Tokugawa Ieyasu → Tokugawa Hidetada
Domain: Head of Ise-Tsu, head of Iyo-Uwajima
Father: Tomita Ippaku
Mother: Daughter of Kuroda Hisatsuna
Siblings: Nobutaka, Nobusada, Renichi, Hira-no-suke, Sano Nobuyoshi, sister (wife of Kondō Mochikatsu)
Wife: Daughter of Ukita Yasunobu, Kita-no-kata (adopted daughter of Ukita Hideie), daughter of Ōmori Sakon
Children: Tomoyuki, Tomonori
Tomita Nobutaka served as a bushō and daimyō during the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods. He was the lord of Anōtsu Castle and the second head of the Tsu domain in Ise Province. Based on his achievements at the Battle of Sekigahara, he was appointed by Tokugawa Hidetada (the second supreme shōgun of the Edo bakufu) to serve as the first head of the Iyo-Uwajima domain in Shikoku, but was later removed from his position owing to complicity in an incident involving his brother-in-law, Sakazaki Naomori.
Period prior to serving as head of the clan
Nobutaka was born as the eldest son of Tomita Ippaku (also known as Nobuhiro or Tomonobu) in Ōmi Province. His mother was the daughter of Kuroda Hisatsuna. His formal wife was the daughter of Ukita Yasunobu, while his second wife was the daughter of Ukita Tadaie (an adopted daughter of Ukita Hideie). A later daughter of Tadaie was well-known as a female bushō.
Nobutaka was first known as Tomokatsu. He was commonly known as Tomoharu or Nobukatsu, with the same first character in his name as Nobutaka. Nobutaka’s father, Ippaku, served as a close associate of Hashiba Hideyoshi and, from 1588, Nobutaka also served Hideyoshi when Hideyoshi held the title of kanpaku, or Chief Advisor to the Emperor.
In 1594, Nobutaka was invested with the title of Junior Fifth Rank and Governor of Shinano. On 2/28 of 1595, Ippaku was awarded an increase to his fief in the amount of 20,000 koku in the Anōtsu District of Ise Province, whereupon allocated this holding to Nobutaka. Following the demise of Hideyoshi n 1598, he received as an heirloom a sword from a famous swordmaker named Mitsutada of Bizen Province from the Kamakura period. Ippaku retired in 1599, upon which Nobutaka inherited the headship of the clan. Nobutaka became a daimyō serving as the lord of Anōtsu Castle with a fief of 50,000 (or 60,000) koku.
Attack on Anōtsu Castle
In the sixth month of 1600, when Tokugawa Ieyasu raised an army to subjugate the Uesugi clan, Nobutaka led a contingent of 300 retainers and joined forces under Sakakibara Yasamasa. On 7/12, while the army was en route to the northern provinces, Ishida Mitsunari rebelled against Ieyasu from Ōsaka. While camped in the village of Oyama in Shimotsuke Province, Ieyasu held a meeting known as the Oyama Deliberation to decide whether to continue the northward march to confront the Uesugi or whether to return to Ōsakat to quell the challenge posed by Mitsunari. At this meeting, Nobutaka pledged along with other commanders to support Ieyasu. Similar to Mitsunari, the Tomita clan originated from Ōmi Province, but Nobutaka and his father, Ippaku, had not gotten along well with Mitsunari.
To secure Anōtsu Castle located at a strategic transit point, Ieyasu returned in advance of Nobutaka and Wakabe Mitsuyoshi (the lord of Ueno Castle in Ise Province), ordering a strengthening of the defenses. On 8/1, Nobutaka and Mitsuyoshi hurriedly departed from Oyama in Shimotsuke, traveling on the Tōkai Road to Yoshida Castle in Mikawa, protected by Ikeda Terumasa. Nobutaka, Mitsuyoshi and their forces used several hundred boats to cross Mikawa Bay. While en route, the fleet encountered a naval blockade on of Ise Bay by vessels under the command of Kuki Yoshitaka of the Western Army. Nobutaka was on good terms with Yoshitaka, whereupon he convinced Yoshitaka that he was abandoning the Eastern Army to join the Western Army and escaped from a precarious situation.
While attacking Fushimi Castle, the Western Army pressed closer, advancing with a large contingent from Iga toward the road to Ise. Mitsuyoshi determined that he did not have enough troops to defend his base at Ueno Castle, so he departed and converged with Nobutaka at Anōtsu Castle, protecting the eastern gate. Nobutaka informed the Eastern Army that his garrison was holed-up in the castle, and requested Ieyasu to urgently head west, but the naval blockade enforced by Kuki Yoshitaka severed communications with the Eastern Army so the defenders were isolated. Yoshida Shigekatsu, the lord of Matsusaka Castle, was surrounded by forces commanded by Nabeshima Katsushima, but spared a small number of forces to reinforce the south wall of Ueno Castle. In the end, Nobutaka holed-up with 1,600 (or 1,700) soldiers.
Meanwhile, the Western Army totaled as many as 30,000 troops led by Mōri Hidemoto, Natsuka Masaie, Ankokuji Ekei, Shishido Mototsugu, and Kikkawa Hiroie. However, although the forces commanded by Natsuka Masaie sought to attack Anōtsu Castle as soon as possible, after seeing several thousand boats from Nobutaka’s forces on the shore, the men mistakenly concluded that the main contingent of the Eastern Army had arrived and fled into the mountainous area of Suzuka and Kameyama. After realizing the error, the forces returned, but Nobutaka then launched a nighttime attack, defeating the enemy and raising the spirits of his men.
On 8/23, the battle to defend Anōtsu Castle began. On 8/24, fire from the battle resulted in the burning of the Sairai Temple along with local residences. The Western Army used this as an opportunity to scale begin scaling the castle walls so Nobutaka and Mitsuyoshi burst out of the castle to mount a counterattack. Mitsuyoshi fought valiantly against Shishido Mototsugu, with both men incurring injuries and withdrawing. Nobutaka himself fought with a spear, and after being surrounded by a mass of enemy soldiers, was rescued by a young single mounted soldier who turned out to be his wife. Nevertheless, the garrison was outnumbered, losing the outermost and second outermost citadels to the attacking forces, forcing them into the inner citadel of the castle. On 8/25, the enemy launched an all-out assault, whereupon Nobutaka opened the castle gate and charged forward. The defenders killed over 500 enemy forces and repelling others, holing up again the castle.
On 8/26, after determining that continued fighting would be to no avail, he sent a message by arrow to plead for a settlement. There is also a theory that, on the verge of a final showdown, Mōri Hidemoto sought to end the conflict so he appointed Mokujiki Ōgo to reconcile the two sides, or that Nobutaka accepted a declaration of surrender from Kikkawa Hiroie. In any event, a decision was made to turn-over the castle on this day and the defenders vacated the premises. Nobutaka underwent the rites of tonsure at the Senju Temple on Mount Takada in the town of Ishinden in Ise and entered the priesthood, moving to Mount Kōya.
Transfer to Iyo-Uwajma
After the Battle of Sekigahara ended in victory for the Eastern Army, Ieyasu rewarded Nobutaka for his loyalty, restoring territories earlier lost and recognizing his rights to them, along with an increase of 20,000 koku to his landholdings in Ise Province.
Thereafter, he endeavored to rebuild the town of Tsu below the castle which was damaged as a result of the war.
In 1605, Sakazaki Naomori (the head of the Tsuwano domain in Iwami) who was the younger brother of Nobutaka’s wife (Nobutaka’s younger brother-in-law) learned that Ukita Samon (a nephew) was having an affair with the female servant of Naomori, whereupon he had his retainer kill her with a sword. Acting out of revenge, Samon in turn killed the retainer who had been ordered by Naomori to slay the servant. Naomori’s father, Ukita Tadaie, feared for Samon’s safety, so he gave him a letter and had him flee to the protection of Nobutaka (Tadaie’s son-in-law). This angered Naomori who then had others closely question Nobutaka, but Nobutaka said he had left and hid Samon. Naomori then went to Tsu Castle himself to investigate, but was refused entry on the grounds that the lord was absent, becoming further upset. Naomori was told that Nobutaka went to Fushimi, so he took some of Nobutaka’s retainers as hostages and pursued Nobutaka. Naomori sought to capture and kill Nobutaka but was halted by his retainers so, instead, Naomori appealed to Ieyasu, accusing Nobutaka of concealing a criminal who had violated the laws. Ieyasu, however, had transferred governance to Tokugawa Hidetada in his role as the shōgun so he instructed Naomori to request the bakufu handle the matter.
On 9/15 of 1608, Nobutaka was assigned to Iyo-Itajima Castle which became the base of the Uwajima domain with a fief of 101,900 koku. Under another theory, this was increased by 50,000 koku to total 120,000 koku. That same year, Nobutaka was invested with the title of Junior Fourth Rank (Lower).
To establish the political administration of the Uwajima domain, Nobutaka attended to construction projects to foster marine transport as well as excavation work.
Accompanying Nobutaka’s transfer to Uwajima, Ukita Samon secretly departed for protection under Takahashi Mototane, the head of the Hyūga-Nobeoka domain in Kyūshū. Having sympathy for his situation, Nobutaka’s wife sent an allowance of 300 koku of rice to him but an attendant of Samon stole her letter and brought it to Naomori while requesting to be allowed to return to Ise. Pleased to receive the letter, in 1613, Naomori then traveled to Edo and appealed to Hidetada. By chance, Ieyasu was in Edo Castle at the time, and, on 10/8, Ieyasu and Hidetada took part in an adjudication by the highest organ in the bakufu whereby the crime committed by the wife was subject to censure and decision made to remove Nobutaka from his position. Further, his younger brother, Sano Masatsuna (the head of the Sano domain in Shimotsuke) lost his position owing to his complicity in the matter, while Mototane was removed for sheltering Samon. Finally, Samon himself was executed. On 10/25, Nobutaka was turned over to Torii Tadamasa of the Iwaki-Taira domain in Mutsu Province where he was confined to the village of Iwaki. Nevertheless, conviction for a crime occurring eight years earlier was an ostensible pretext while there is a stronger theory that this owed to his complicity in the Ōkubo Nagayasu Incident.
In 1633, Nobutaka died at the Zenchō Temple in Onahama in Iwaki affiliated with the Myōshin Temple based in Kyōto.
Nobutaka’s eldest son, Tomoyuki, became a retainer of Tokugawa Yorifusa while his descendants served as retainers of the Mito domain in Hitachi Province. His second, son, Tomonori, became a retainer of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, head of the Tatebayashi domain in Kōzuke Province. Later, he received compensation of 500 hyō (bales of rice) and became a hatamoto, or retainer in direct service of the Edo bakufu. In the era of Tomonori’s son, Tomosato, the compensation was increased to 7,000 koku and he served as a senior retainer of the bakufu.